This report on the gas industry in West Africa focuses on the downstream activities of preparation, processing and production of gases in gasworks, and the production of gas by the carbonation of coal or by mixing manufactured gas with natural gas or petroleum or other gases and distribution via tankers and/or pipelines and gas cylinders. It includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector in various countries, developments and corporate actions and influencing factors. There are profiles of 10 companies operating in the region including the major multinational players such as Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Exxon Mobil, and local players such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
The Gas Industry in West Africa
Nigeria is the leading gas producer in West Africa and has 99% of the region’s total proved resources. The biggest recent find of natural gas in the region was on the maritime border of Senegal and Mauritania. The sector is dominated by international oil companies that include Royal Dutch Shell, Total, BP and Oryx Energies which are involved in upstream and downstream activities.
The coronavirus outbreak and low oil prices forced operators to employ survival strategies such as halting non-essential activities, adopting forced leave or layoff strategies, slowing output, expanding storage capacities, refining sales and purchase agreements, and using hedging instruments to market their crude oil. Commentators said that coronavirus will necessitate a reassessment of project development plans, many of which carry operating costs incompatible with a low oil price. Some major players have reduced their investment in exploration and production projects by 25% in 2020.
Despite its sizeable gas reserves, gas supply interruptions to thermal power stations are leading to power supply interruptions in Nigeria. The gas supply problem results from the inadequacy and inefficiency of investments in critical domestic gas infrastructure, exacerbated by years of regulatory uncertainty in the domestic gas market. Seven gas projects aimed at overcoming a looming gas supply gap have been fast tracked.